October 2017, Vol. 2

Hiring a retiree to substitute in a vacant position

by April Mabry

Q: Can we hire a TRS retiree as a substitute to fill a vacant position?

A: Yes, an individual receiving benefits from the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) may serve as a substitute in a vacant position for a limited period of time. Any employment that exceeds the limits explained below would be subject to the monthly surcharge and may impact the individual’s monthly annuity.

TRS defines a substitute as a person who serves on a temporary basis in place of a current employee who is paid no more than the daily rate of pay set by the employer. Effective September 1, 2016, the definition of substitute applicable to TRS retirees was expanded, allowing a retiree to serve in a vacant position—other than the one the person retired from—for as many as 20 days and still be considered a substitute.

A retiree may serve as a substitute in more than one vacant position each school year provided the retiree serves no more than 20 days in each vacant position. The only restriction is that a retiree may not serve in the position the retiree vacated at retirement.

In addition, a retiree may work as a substitute and in a half-time position during the same month, as long as the total number of days worked in the combined positions for any given month does not exceed four clock hours for each workday in the calendar month. The total number of hours for a given month may be worked in any arrangement or schedule. For example, four hours each day or full time for half the number of workdays in the month.

As long as the conditions above are met, the retiree will not forfeit annuity payments and the district will not be subject to the monthly surcharge. Additional information on substituting in a vacancy is available on the TRS website.

Other considerations when hiring a retiree to substitute includes the following:
  • A retiree must have one full, calendar-month break in service before returning to work in a district. Work as a substitute during the month following retirement is work that would revoke retirement.
  • A retiree may work as a substitute for an unlimited number of days during a month as long as he or she is filling in for a current employee.
Additional information on Employment of Retired Personnel is available in the HR Library and in the TRS publication Employment after Retirement.